Ulster beat Connacht at Ravenhill

By
Updated: November 5, 2011

Ulster beat Connacht 22-3 at Ravenhill after tries from Craig Gilroy, Tom Court and Ian Humphries killed off the visitors who struggled to match Ulster for quality.

Ulster got off the mark in just the second minute when Connacht gave away a penalty and Ian Humphries kicked the first three points on the board to the home team.

The Ulster men had the better of the play and possession in the opening minutes but failed to convert their dominance into scoring opportunities and allowed Connacht to get a rare opportunity to score a try in the 14th minute.

The away team pinned back Ulster in their own half but the opportunity was wasted by Nikora whose poor cross field kick couldn’t find O’Halloran on the opposite wing.

The play was called back for a penalty however and Nikora made no mistake from this chance as he levelled the score with his kick.

Ulster controlled play from then on and had two golden opportunities to score five points in the 35th minute when Danielli’s run down the left wing ended with his poor pass missing his teammates but Marshall salvaged possession and got the ball down the right wing where Ulster looked certain to score.

Dan Tuohy’s poor pass was knocked on by Cave who couldn’t control the pass and the attack came to nothing.

Ulster got the try they were looking for just two minutes before the break when Humphries set Gilroy free to run through the Connacht back line and put down for five points.

Humphries missed the conversion and Connacht went into the break just five points behind the home side.

Ulster came out of the traps flying for the second half and scored their second try of the game in the 42nd minute when the pressure from their forwards attack was too much for Connacht and Tom Court went over for the try.

Humphries didn’t miss this conversion this time and put the score to 15-3 with Ulster looking to have the hunger to score more.

That never materialised as their attacking play had little imagination and their play was halted by handling errors as Connacht held on in defence.

Connacht had next to no chances to score in the second half and were barely in Ulster’s half as most of the play took place in Connacht’s half.

Despite Ulster’s profligacy, they put the gloss on their victory with a late try from Ian Humphries after the outhalf stepped inside the Connacht defence to go over the line and convert his own try quickly.

The scoreline should’ve been higher in Ulster’s favour but the home side were predictable in attack and sloppy when it came to finishing the visitors off.

Ulster 22 v 3 Connacht
Full time

Commentary:
Full time: The game ends with Humphries try and Ulster win by 19 points. The home team came out for the second half with an early try and it looked like they might run away with the victory but their second half play was slow and peppered with simple errors. Connacht never really got a foothold in the game and the scoreline reflected that.

80min+2: TRY to Ulster! Ian Humphries scores Ulster’s third try with last play of the game as break’s Connacht’s back line with relative ease with a drop of the shoulder. The outhalf then takes the conversion quickly to put a gloss on his team’s victory.
80min+2: Ulster win the lineout and break into Connacht’s half as they look for one more score.
80min: O’Connor gets away with a strange cross field kick in his own half and then kicks to touch for a last chance from a lineout.
78min: More poor ball handling as Danielli knocks it on.
77min: Connacht have possession in their own half but Duffy knocks it on and gives Wallace an opportunity to break but he can’t and the play goes back to a scrum for the knock on.
75min: Connacht win a penalty from a scrum and Niall O’Connor kicks the ball to touch.
73min: Connacht try to play the ball out of their own half again but are stopped by a big tackle by Trimble and eventually kick the ball away and lose possesion.
72min: Trimble runs down the wing as Ulster are on the front foot again but the give away a penalty and Connacht have ball for the scrum.
70min: Connacht maintain possession but give away a penalty and Humphries kicks to touch.
69min: Humphries kicks clear around the halfway line and Connacht win the lineout.
68min: Their spell of possession is cut short after a knock on from a Connacht player gives Ulster the put in to the scrum.
67min: Tom Court has gone off for Macklin as Connacht have a rare spell in Ulster’s half.
65min: Connacht are livingly dangerously as they try to play the ball in their own half as Ulster keep them pinned back. Frank Murphy comes on for O’Donoghue as Connacht try to freshen things up.
63min: Ulster keep the pressure on but Connacht’s defence holds strong and they get the put in to the scrum as Ulster knock the ball on. Nikora comes off for Niall O’Connor.
60min: Ulster are agonisly close to scoring another try after Danielli’s brilliant run but Wallace knocks the ball on in a difficult situation and it’s a scrum to Connacht.
59min: The substitute scrum half Porter who is on for Marshall clears the ball with a great kick down the field. Afoa comes off for McAllister as Ulster make another change.
57min: Ferris comes off for Diack as Connacht drive forward into Ulster’s half but Ulster turn it over and win a scrum.
55min: Connacht lose possession from their own lineout and Ulster are on the attack again. Connacht’s Eoghan Grace comes off for John Muldoon.
54min: Ferris goes down injured as Ulster give away a penalty in front of Connacht’s tryline.
52min: Humphries drops the ball carelessly and the home team’s attack is halted once again by their own mistakes. Wilkinson and Flavin come off for Ronan Loughney and Ethienne Reynecke.
51min: Ulster put the pressure on again as they are making themselves at home inside Connacht’s 22.
50min: The attack eventually breaks down after Gilroy knocks the ball on and Connacht clear.
49min: Ulster attack through Henry who is eventually caught but the home team keep the pressure on and stretch the play from left to right.
48min: Connacht are penalised for going over the top in a ruck and lose possession. Ulster get the put in to the scrum.
47min: Connacht had a chance just yards from Ulster’s tryline but give it away too easily and Ulster clear. Connacht have the ball back now however and continue to attack.
46min: The referee has a word to Court and Ah You about their scrummaging and Connacht have possession from a quick lineout.
44min: Humphries scores from the conversion to make it 15-3 to Ulster.
42min: TRY to Ulster! Tom Court goes over the line for Ulster’s second try after their physical pressure is too much for Connacht’s defence.
41min: Humphries kicks to get the game going in the second half and Ulster gain possession again from the outhalf’s kick with a lineout.

Half time: It’s half time at Ravenhill and Ulster go into the changing rooms with a deserved five point lead. Connacht held on valiantly for most of the half time but Ulster’s sustained pressure finally took its toll when Gilroy crossed the line in the 38th minute.

40min: Humphries misses the conversion and Connacht have a lineout after Marshall kicks to touch.
38min: TRY to Ulster! Ian Humphries sets up Gilroy who’s diagonal run beats the Connacht defence.
37min: Ulster win a lineout from Connacht’s scrum. Wallace breaks through the Connacht back line but the away team recover and now the pressure is on as Ulster are camped outside inside their 22.
35min: Ulster just have two great chances to score a try as Danielli’s pass down the left wing is missed by his teammate and then their attack down the right is scuppered by a knock on. Sloppy play by Ulster.
34min: Ulster have a scrum but Marshall is closed down by O’Donoghue. Ulster have another chance from another scrum.
32min: O’Donoghue’s poor kick is caught by Danielli who calls a mark and Ulster relieve the pressure.
30min: Nikora kicks to touch and Trimble takes it quick but Connacht attack Danielli to put pressure on Ulster deep in their own half.
29min: Ulster have a lineout inside their own half and Marshall’s kick is won by Tom Court as Ulster attack but Connacht turn the ball over.
27min: Humphries misses from the penalty. That’s a let off for Connacht.
25min: Ulster win a penalty in front of the posts as Connacht are penalised for playing the ball on the ground.
24min: Connacht clear their lines again through Duffy and give possession back to the home team.
23min: Connacht give the ball away too easily and Humphries kicks to touch again.
22min: Humphries kicks to touch just inside Connacht’s 22 and Connacht take the linout. The referee gives a penalty to Connacht to relieve the pressure for tackling the jumping player from the lineout.
20min: Ulster push forward from the scrum but Connacht have possession in a dangerous position until Duffy kicks it clear. Lineout to Ulster just outside Connacht’s 22.
18min: Ulster are on the attack and the home team nearly get to a try but George Naoupu can’t control Ferris’ pass and there willl be a scrum to Connacht. Swift comes off injured for Dave Gannon.
16min: Nikora kicks the three points and the score stands at 3-all as Humphries gets the game going again.
14min: Connacht are on the attack and arer close to the Ulster tryline but Nikora’s cross kick can’t find his man. Play is called back for a penalty and Nikora has a chance to level the game.
13min: Connacht have a lineout inside Ulster’s 22.
11min: The referee warns both captains but the replays show it was Muller who took a swing at a Connacht player.
10min: Ulster give the ball away from the lineout and Connacht win it but there’s some off the ball fighting as the play is stopped.
9min: Connacht are penalised for a high tackle by Ah You and Paddy Wallace kicks to touch.
8min: Ulster attack but a forward pass gives a scrum to Connacht.
7min: Ulster get the put in to the scrum and win the penalty after Ah You is penalised for bringing down the scrum.
4min: Gilroy evades tackles down the wing but is eventually taken down by O’Donoghue. Connacht succesfully contest the lineout.
2min: Connacht give away a penalty and Ian Humphries kicks the first three points on the board.
1min: We’re underway at Ravenhill with Connacht kicking to Ulster who advance through Stephen Ferris.

Teams:

Connacht Team:

(15-9) Tiernan O’Halloran, Fetu’u Vainikolo, Gavin Duffy (Capt), Dave McSharry, Brian Tuohy, Miah Nikora, Paul O’Donohoe,

(1-8) Brett Wilkinson, Adrian Flavin, Rodney Ah You, Michael Swift, Mike McCarthy, TJ Anderson, Eoghan Grace, George Naoupu

Replacements: (16-23) Ethienne Reynecke, Ronan Loughney, Dylan Rogers, Dave Gannon, John Muldoon, Frank Murphy, Niall O’Connor, Matthew Jarvis

Ulster Team:

(15-9): S Danielli; A Trimble, D Cave, P Wallace, C Gilroy; I Humphreys, P Marshall;

(1-8): T Court, R Best, J Afoa, J Muller (Capt), D Tuohy, S Ferris, C Henry, P Wannenburg;

Replacements (16-23): A Kyriacou, P McAllister, A Macklin, L Stevenson, R Diack, I Porter, N Spence, A D’Arcy

Venue: Ravenhill
kick-off: saturday 5th November, 5.35pm
Referee: John Lacey

Preview:

It’s been quite a disappointing recent few weeks for both, Ulster and Connacht, despite starting this seasons RaboDirect PRO 12 campaign in positive fashion with three wins out of their first number of games.

Since then, however, the promising early season form of the two weaker provinces has been brought crashing down to earth as both teams have failed to win a single match since late September – Ulster’s misery being further compounded by an embarrassing loss at home to Italian minnows Treviso. Connacht on the other hand can lay claim to have been unlucky against Edinburgh and, last week, against the Cardiff Blues.

Nevertheless, history is against the men from the West for a raft of reasons. 2002 was the last time Connacht won away to any of the four Irish provinces in the history of the competition. Both Connacht’s wins over Ulster have been in Galway – 2003 and New Year’s Eve of 2005 – and unbelievably the last time they won in Belfast was way back in 1960.

New Zealand World Cup winner John Afoa will go straight into Ulster’s starting line-up after only arriving on Wednesday. The big prop played twice for the All-Blacks on their way to lifting the Webb Ellis trophy. Hooker Rory Best and blindside flanker Stephen Ferris make their first competitive starts of the season as Tom Court completes an imposing, all-international front row.

Connacht makes six changes from the loss to Blues last week. Former Munster Academy player-of-the-year Eoghan Grace earns his first cap at openside flanker, TJ Anderson returns to face his old team at blindside, while there is a new half-back pairing of Paul O ‘Donohoe and Miah Nikora. Captain Gavin Duffy is moved to centre where he is paired with another debutant, Dave McSharry. Tiernan O ‘Halloran moves to full-back, his place on the wing taken by Brian Tuohuy.

Both teams are in desperate need of points after recent losses. Connacht lie two points above Ulster in the standings and while the visitors can be confident of getting something out of the game, Ulster will have ear-marked this fixture as a possible bonus point win.

Verdict: Ulster

Connacht Team:

(15-9) Tiernan O’Halloran, Fetu’u Vainikolo, Gavin Duffy (Capt), Dave McSharry, Brian Tuohy, Miah Nikora, Paul O’Donohoe,

(1-8) Brett Wilkinson, Adrian Flavin, Rodney Ah You, Michael Swift, Mike McCarthy, TJ Anderson, Eoghan Grace, George Naoupu

Replacements: (16-23) Ethienne Reynecke, Ronan Loughney, Dylan Rogers, Dave Gannon, John Muldoon, Frank Murphy, Niall O’Connor, Matthew Jarvis

Ulster Team:

(15-9): S Danielli; A Trimble, D Cave, P Wallace, C Gilroy; I Humphreys, P Marshall;

(1-8): T Court, R Best, J Afoa, J Muller (Capt), D Tuohy, S Ferris, C Henry, P Wannenburg;

Replacements (16-23): A Kyriacou, P McAllister, A Macklin, L Stevenson, R Diack, I Porter, N Spence, A D’Arcy

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